Car Men Accept Dismissals Plan
By Ian Frykberg
Sir Michael Edwardes, chairman of the beleagured car manufacturer, British Leyland, has won clear support from his workers for a plan to close or partially close 13 plants and retrench 25,000 employees. The results of a secret ballot among the government owned companies 165,000 workers on Sir Michael’s plan, is to be announced later, but there is no doubt he has won strong support from his workers.
The plan was put forward by the British Leyland chairman as the only means of saving the giant motor manufacturer from closure by the government which had refused to continue to provide “blank cheque” sums of money to support it.
If Sir Michael’s victory is as great as reports today were suggesting, it will strengthen his case to the Thatcher government for continued aid for the streamlined operation. Sir Michael wants more than $760 milion to carry through his plans for the streamlining of British Leyland including the closure or part closure of 13 plants.
The Conservative government, as part of its plans to cut back government spending, has announced that it will be heavilly reducing payments made by the former Labour government to subsidised industries. The Industry Secretary, Sir Keith Joseph has already said he will “take some convincing” about British Leyland.
The result of the ballot is a major victory for Sir Michael, because the union leaders involved had flatly rejected the steramlining plans over the loss of 25,000 jobs.
The result of the ballott over the Edwardes plan is announced. 80% Of the workforce voted, of which 87-2% are in favour of acceptance.